Config 2023 Reflections

There were 4 major announcements at this year's Config that impact past advice I've published in blog posts:

As I was processing my notes, I realized a handful of the 22 blog posts I've published could be considered "stale" now that we have these new features available to us. 7 of my posts cover topics that probably ought to mention the features above given their subject matter. I have yet to do a close reading of any of these, but based on their titles alone I can remember the main points and how variables, wrapping auto layout, min and max width controls, and prototyping updates will affect them. Here's some early thoughts on how they will need to be updated:

I have beef with status emojis in component library Page names

✅ Updated April 27, 2024

Edit the width of nested components using zero-frames as resizers

✅ Updated January 6, 2024

How to rescue your Figma file from the depths of hell and live to tell the tale

✅ Updated April 28, 2024

The 5 Auto Layout stumbling blocks you need to understand to master this feature once and for all.

✅ Updated May 4, 2024

12 ways to make your Figma components more delightful to use

✅ Updated August 12, 2023

Modernized examples

After (left), Before (right)

Pre-variants I had a handful of small examples that described using variants for certain uses, such as managing attributes like "size":

If you're handling breakpoint with variants, make sure it's always called "Breakpoint" and not "Device" or "Size."

Now that we have variables, I'd recommend using variables for things like that. I combed through the post and either updated these with a modern example or eliminated them entirely. Additionally, under ​Quality 2:​ Make common modifications are accessible from the component's top layer, I had an example of how I'd use variants to manage a ◈ Star rating component. But now with features like component swap properties, there's a whole different property setup available!

250% More visuals!

Before (left), After (right). Images are circled in each.

The percentage makes that sound like a ton of visuals, but the first post had 2 visuals and the updated version has 5. I did this because as I was re-reading the post, I realized it's one of my headier ones. Adding more visuals should make it easier to illustrate important points.

When you should use variants VS creating separate components

✅ Updated July 19, 2023

Way less ambiguity. TRUCKLOADS of firm guidance.

A before/after image showing where subsections were moved to.


I used to have a huge section in this post titled "Things you could use either separate components or variants for." But I didn't want to leave people hanging at a fork in the road with no guidance.

The issue was that making those decisions was tough! There were a lot of factors you had to weigh: How big is your team? What plan are you on? How many variants are in your component set? How sensitive are you to lag and performance issues?

I suspect while this was helpful food for thought, it was still a LOT for any one person to navigate.


That section is * poof * ... gone. All thanks to two things:

  1. The introduction of variables, and
  2. I’ve spent another year honing my Figma skills and developing opinions about this stuff!

The same sub-sections are still relevant, but they’ve all moved into sections that start with “Always use…” And I don’t take “always” lightly.

A clear timeline of feature releases

A before/after image showing how the post now has headers that call out when features were announced.


I touched on what strategies we had to use before certain features were released, but in a way that wasn't very organized or scannable.


Now that we're 3 features deep (variants, component properties, and now variables) on this topic, I wanted to offer a more structural timeline using headings.

Dedicated change log

A screenshot of the change log section at the end of the post


I had only ever updated this post once in December 2022 (11 months after initially publishing it for the first time), and at the time I felt the "Updated on" timestamp at the top was sufficient. And that update wasn't nearly as big as this one, I was mostly just adding the section "Always use component properties" because that feature had recently come out.


At the verrrrry end of the post I have a brand new change log that will summarize every update I make to this post going forward. I'll probably do this for any post that gets updated 3 or more times.

I also will have links to old versions (thanks ​Wayback Machine​!) for anyone who wants to compare to the latest.

This is probably why your Figma variant's "size" property isn't working

This is another one for the graveyard / compost bin. With variables, there's no need to use variants for a property like "size."

The better method is to create some number variables and use those for padding. Then make sure min and max width are dialed in. Hopefully it's that simple!

<div class="horizontal-rule"></div>

It will take me a bit of time to do it, especially for some of those posts that are longer, but I hope to have these all spruced up <s>before the end of the year</s> in 2024. Originally my plan was "before the end of the year" but I took on a teaching job that I need all my spare time for until the semester ends in December. If you'd like to know exactly when I publish updates to the posts above you can do so here:

<a href="" class="button primary" style="padding:16px,0px; margin:auto; border-bottom:0px solid">Select blog posts to get updates on</a>

And something you could do that would be hugely helpful is to email me with questions about these topics and Figma's new features! I want these updated posts to be as helpful as possible, so anything that has you not feeling confident is something I want to know about.